Lemon Laws For Used Cars
If you decide to purchase a defective pre-owned car, the lemon laws for used cars applicable in your state may offer you the possibility to file a lawsuit against the car’s seller. The lemon laws were created in order to provide consumer protection to people that buy new cars, by guaranteeing that, if the car suffers from mechanical defects, the buyer will be entitled to compensation. While the vast majority of the states have new car lemon laws, some of them also have these laws applicable for used cars.
In most of the cases, these used car lemon laws have different guidelines in comparison to the ones applicable for new cars so you need to be very careful. When a new car has problems, the auto dealership that sold the vehicle has the opportunity to repair the car, pay for the necessary modifications, or compensate the customer with a brand new vehicle.
However, many of the used cars are sold by private individuals and not by auto dealerships. If the state you live in has a lemon law for used cars and your vehicle isn’t mechanically sound, the dealership / individual that is selling the car must take it back within a time frame that is set by the state and refund the purchase price that the customer paid for, minus a fee for the miles driven.
In the US, there are 15 states that have lemon laws that protect customers from losing their money on cars that have problems right after they purchase the vehicles. You need to take into consideration the fact that the consumer protection laws vary greatly depending on the state and there are special circumstances that will differentiate the lemon laws from state to state. For this reason, you should check the local laws applicable to the state you live in.
Here are the 15 states that have lemon laws: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
If you are not a citizen of the above 15 states mentioned, it doesn’t mean that you are not still entitled to take your problem to court. There are many examples in which the Supreme Court ruled against a car dealer after a used vehicle that was bought at the dealership suffered important mechanical problems. Despite the fact that the vehicles were categorized as “pre-owned”, some of them had few miles and were classified as “new” under state mileage limitations. As a consequence, setting up a meeting with your attorney will not be a waste your time. On the contrary, it will be in your best interest even if in your state there isn’t a lemon law.
You also need to take into consideration the Federal Trade Commission’s Used Car Rule which requires car dealers in all states to clearly post a “buyer’s guide” in the window of all the vehicles that are on sale. This buyer’s guide must consist of the following: whether the vehicle is sold with a warranty (and how long is it); in case of damages, does the dealer cover a percentage of the repairs; info about the vehicle’s mechanical and electrical systems; the customer’s right to have the vehicle individually inspected prior to buying it and verbal promises made by dealers that are difficult to legally enforce.
The lemon laws for used cars are more complex than you might have thought because they don’t cover as much as the lemon laws for new vehicles. As a vehicle ages, its mechanics will sooner or later fail, even though the owner of the car takes great care of it. Due to this reason, most of these lemon laws that cover used cars are viable only for a limited period of time following the transaction or they protect you within a strict mileage range.
ATVs, motorcycles, boats and motor homes are generally not applicable to these lemon laws. But, some of the states in the US include alternative transportation when forcing car dealers to replace the vehicles or offer customers compensation for the defective products.
You need to be focused and don’t forget that not all of the car dealers are entirely honest. Unless this practice is expressly prohibited – like in Nevada for example – a car dealership may include in the sales contract that by signing it, you will agree not to file a lemon law claim against the auto dealer or any individual employed at the company if your car suffers from mechanical and/or technical problems immediately after you purchased the vehicle.
Even in the aforementioned states where there is a lemon law, some of the dealers will use this document against you in court in order to have your otherwise fully legitimate claims disregarded by the judge. If this happens, the judge has the possibility to either dismiss your case or the dealer’s claim that you had no right to file the lawsuit in the first place. This should be avoided by reading thoroughly all of the sales paperwork prior to purchasing the car, it doesn’t matter if it is new or used.
Post tags: Tags: lemon laws, used cars